We just completed out first meeting with representatives of the ADA (American Dental Association) yesterday at the PNDC.  This preliminary meeting sets the stage for our efforts next year. Consideration is being given to participating as an exhibitor at the ADA general meeting later this year with an option for next year.

Our plan will be implementation of a networking and support plan that integrates into the subsection of the current ADA website. By providing the ADA with contact information of volunteer dentists willing to speak to other disabled dentists, they will be able to directly contact disabled dentists and help them when they are the most vulnerable. We will need volunteer dentists and will begin cataloging names and contact information immediately.  Please contact us if you would like to help out.  In addition,  we are proposing a series of general steps the ADA can recommend on its website for spouses/disabled dentists to take to preserve careers/practices and make good logical decisions in the midst of tragedy and stress.  They can leave specific recommendations to our group (AADD) and the personal networking effort we propose.

In addition to the PNDC, we were able to meet with representatives of the Greater New York Dental Meeting and they were very supportive of our efforts. We made initial contact with them to hopefully gain access to their meeting by presenting or exhibiting. The Chicago Mid-Winter meeting is also on our radar and we are making preliminary inquires into the feasibility of participation in that prestigious event sometime in the next year.

We were approached by many dental auxiliary personnel at the PNDC for help and support.  Since there is a need,  we are firmly committed to support all dental staff members (dentists,hygienists,assistants, and office staff). No one will ever be turned away.  An interesting personal crisis was relayed to us during the meeting,  and we were made aware of a dentist with acute permanent hearing loss on due to a ruptured aneurysm. The staff were desperately searching for help for their dentist, and we were able to step in and provide immediate support for that practitioner. We were also able to speak extensively with a dental spouse whose husband had Parkinson’s disease and was suddenly disabled.  These heart breaking stories are only the “tip of the iceberg” of this problem of disability risk for dentists.

Of great interest is our proposal to expand our effort into all aspects of social media to include Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. This will allow greater access to our website and make knowledge of its existence  become a solid resource for disabled dentists. We will keep you updated on our progress in this area.  Please encourage your peers to check our organization  (disableddentists.org) and understand we are there for the dental community.  We aren’t selling anything and our sole goal is helping dentists who encounter a disabling illness or accident.

Overall we have had great time at the Pacific Northwest Dental Conference and look forward to participation in other regional meetings. We hope our efforts will produce noticeable results and will continue our quest to ensure no dentist or dental family ever has to  “go it alone” without direct personal support from the profession to which they have dedicated their lives. We will continue to ask for personal stories of disability and its challenges.  Please do not hesitate to relay your personal experiences to us,  this includes your efforts to return to work, practice transition, and family challenges.  We will promptly respond to any inquires you may have and actively seek dentists who want answers to some very difficult questions.  You will not hear the phase “I’m here to help and I’m from the government”.  WE ARE DENTISTS AND WE ARE HERE TO HELP.  Keep in touch and follow us grow.